Helping students to thrive by Connecting to Country is the aim of Margaret River Independent School’s unique Indigenous Program, led by the school’s Wadandi Mentor, Josh Whiteland of Koomal Dreaming. MRIS students have always enjoyed a rich nature pedagogy, however, a highlight of the programme, for many children, is this unique hands-on learning experience provided by Josh. Throughout the year, Josh shares his knowledge of country and traditional culture with the Year 3 students by taking them on the school’s Nyindamurra Nature Trail showing them native plants, explaining their properties, and teaching them about local fauna. Josh also teaches Indigenous dancing, language and the six Noongar seasons. Now in its 9th year, the Wadandi Mentoring Program is funded by PALS, (Partnership, Acceptance, Learning, Sharing) a government -funded grant which assists WA schools to develop projects that promote reconciliation in their community. Year 3 teacher Ashley Burke implemented the program at MRIS in 2014 and is thrilled students continue to have the opportunity to embrace indigenous education. “We are always so excited to work alongside Josh and connect with local Wadandi knowledge. Indigenous connections are an important part of educating the whole child at MRIS.” MRIS Principal, Wendy Roediger said the students have gained a wealth of knowledge from their Wadandi mentorship with Josh. ”We are keen to share this with our community,” she said. “We welcome people to book in for a student-led walk on the Nyindamurra Nature Trail for a gold coin donation.” Phone 97 577 515 or email [email protected]
Connecting to Country at MRIS! 1